The Best and Worst Food for Diabetes

food for diabetesWhen you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you know that a big part of managing your condition is watching what you eat. Eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones are a key element of staying healthy and avoiding spikes in your blood sugar.

Certain kinds of foods can be downright dangerous to diabetics, and these foods usually include those occasional treats we all crave. But there are some great alternatives to those foods that can leave you just as satisfied. Let’s take a look at some of those foods to avoid with diabetes, as what as the healthier, better choices are.

Foods to Avoid with Diabetes

Here are some of the worst foods for people with diabetes:

  • Sugary treats. Your favorite sweets and desserts that are primarily made of sugar are lacking in nutritional value and are full of low-quality carbohydrates. They can cause a sharp spike in your blood sugar, as well as cause weight gain, both of which can complicate your diabetes further.
  • White bread, pasta, flour and rice. These are also on the low-quality carbohydrate list. In fact, a study showed that those who ate white rice regularly were at the higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Anything highly processed and made with white flour should be avoided.
  • Fruit juice. Fruit juice can contain just as much sugar and empty calories as a can of soda. Even sugar-free juices or blended juices from a specialty juicer should be avoided if you have diabetes.
  • Fatty meats. Red meat may be low carb, but that doesn’t make them a good food option for diabetics. High-fat cuts of meat are high in saturated fats and can raise your cholesterol, as well as put you at a greater risk for heart disease.
  • Full-fat dairy products. These products also contain high amounts of saturated fats like fatty meats, and should be avoided if you already have diabetes.
  • Trail mix. Trail mix seems like it would be a healthy option, but the dried fruit and milk chocolate that usually comes with it makes it a bad choice. Dehydrating fruit makes their natural sugars super concentrated.

Best Foods for Diabetics

Now that you know what foods to avoid, here are the better choices of food for diabetes:

  • Fresh fruit. When you’re craving something sweet, you’re much better off reaching for an apple or handful of fresh berries.
  • Brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Replacing white carbs with whole grains can make a big difference in your glucose levels.
  • Lean proteins. Switch out the burgers with grilled chicken breast, fish like salmon, or pork tenderloin.
  • Reduced fat or fat-free dairy products. Choose reduced-fat or even fat-free cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc. When you’re ordering your morning coffee, avoid getting those blended coffees laced with cream, sugar and syrups and instead ask for non-fat or light versions of your favorite beverage to help cut out some of that fatty dairy.
  • Low carb snacks. Make your own mixes of sunflower seeds, soy nuts, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, etc. or cut up veggies for the week so when your stomach is rumbling for a snack, it’ll be easier for you to reach for a healthy alternative rather than a pre-packed, high carb treat.

Remember, the food choices you make when you have diabetes can have a huge impact on your overall health. Learning what the best foods are can help you make more informed decisions the next time you cook a meal, sit down to dinner at a restaurant, or reach for an afternoon snack.

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